About digital volunteering in education

“The myth of digital transformation pedagogy must be fought. Instead, there is the reality of a new object that emerged in the mid-20th century, arithmetic, which has asserted itself as a total social fact, but is also a serious endocrine disruptor”. Bruno Devauchelle returns to the arguments used for the installation of digital devices in the classroom were developed – promises that met with a reluctant institution and a lack of consideration for subject didactics.

The digital professional pitches

In view of the recently expressed reluctance to use digital technologies in the classroom, it is necessary to take a closer look at the arguments that decision-makers use to justify their projects. To start this work, we take the arguments proposed by a community to justify the use of tablets in 6th grade (Seine Maritime). Of course, support for these arguments can vary in importance, but in all cases, pre-decision work was done, mainly relying on academic digital education services.

“A working group was quickly set up to develop the project together with the Department’s services and elected officials. Thus, the DRANE, the school leaders, the speakers of digital educational resources and uses (RRUPN) and the Canopé network meet monthly until the tablet distribution phase”. Two documents have been drafted that specify the intentions of this tablet distribution project. We summarize the main ones arguments of these two documents and present them here.

For the students :

– Would rather encourage learning and develop students’ active engagement in learning and encourage creativity and multimedia content production

– Encouraging the student’s personal work

– Facilitate access to resources inside and outside the classroom

– Facilitate group work and collaboration

– Develop oral skills

– Encourages student creativity

– Lighter in the school bag

For schools and teachers

– Enable and develop an inclusive school

– Evaluate with instant feedback and diagnostic support for the teacher

– Existing educational offerings on this medium

– Educational projects that can be rejected on this medium

– Vector of the development of pedagogical practices

– More dynamic and manageable tool during a teaching sequence”

Digital for what efficiency?

Among these arguments, the most frequently asked question is that of proof of efficacy. Very contrasting work goes both ways. In answering these questions, however, we must remain sufficiently humble and realistic. To dig this furrow, one can consult the following works (among many others), which provide enough important elements to know and grasp digital technology in schools:

J Boissière, S. Fau, F. Pedro, “Digital an opportunity for school” (Armand Colin 2013)

T Karsenti, J. Bugmann (directed) “Teaching and Learning with Digital Technology” (PUMontréal 2017)

J. Boissière, E. Bruillard, “The digital school: an education to build and live, digital and school transformations”, (Armand Colin 2022)

B. Devauchelle, Education with digital technology, (ESF, 2019)

You can also read the daily Café Pédagogique espresso, which reflects “teachers’ effective practices” with digital technology in their classrooms.

When statistical studies struggle to highlight the positives, it’s usually because the context is overwhelmed by an overall performance measurement. Before this study, however, it can be observed above all that many teachers do not find an appropriate place for digital technology in their everyday life. This observation is not new, but it becomes more relevant as equipment multiplies.

Another example of well-founded voluntariness is the recent Educational Digital Territories project. “to fulfill two inseparable ambitions: the general raising of the standard and more social justice. […] Enrich teaching practice and improve student outcomes.” Here we find the same discourse as in the past, enriched by the situation that we have experienced during two years of the health crisis, which includes the various disruptions related to digital technology and the Possibilities of digital means at the service of teaching that would emerge from the habit of face to face We also find in the intention of the terms that now populate an agreed discourse: autonomy, commitment, collaboration, link between family and school , framework of trust …

Untapped potential

Our observations and studies we have conducted over the past decade in both primary and secondary schools have taught us that technological change occurs at a very different pace than changes in the school environment. While some authors point to many different changes in the school world, they seem to forget that, on a more general level, hesitation and reluctance are numerous among the majority of teachers. The observation carried out in the Landes in 2019 led us to highlight the registration of changes over the long term. In particular, we talk about the practices “of the students” of digital technology in their learning. Because when we talk about teachers’ practices, it’s very different. The crisis has shown us that for the most part they have acquired a base of skills, not only digital but also in adaptation, you would say “agility” in Newspeak. This enabled them, often through trial and error, to face a situation they had never seen before. But they still had their fortunes, they who are one of the first personally endowed professions before the 21st century.

Scientific approaches to these questions cannot be content with statistical and decontextualized studies. The local and pragmatic approach must also make it clear that awareness of the potential of digital education is being hampered by a cautious and sometimes fearful institution.

For us, two pillars must be considered: the registration of digital education policies over time, the necessary equipment for each student of an EIM. Of course, never neglect the infrastructures, the work environments that must be consistent and continuous with these two pillars.

Finally, we regret that in all the documents explaining the intentions of these policies or in their analyzes the disciplinary didactic dimension is too much neglected. At the heart of all the content that is imparted is that the actual challenge of digital education lies in its various aspects: digital means as a carrier of new knowledge, the interweaving between the content imparted and the critical spirit to be strengthened by the weight of the digital, the development of user skills within the disciplinary teaching itself. The myth of the digital transformation of pedagogy must be fought. Instead, there is the reality of a new object that appeared in the mid-20th century, arithmetic, which has asserted itself as a total social fact, but is also a serious endocrine disruptor…

Bruno Devauchelle

Leave a Comment